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Grandma Nurses Grandson

Grandma Tries to Breastfeed Grandson

A close friend of mine just returned from a trip to Italy with her five-month-old son, husband and his family. All was well under the Tuscan sun until the last day of their vacation when her mother-in-law asked to hold the baby while they were out by the pool.

My friend obliged, but was shocked when she turned to check on them moments later. The granny had one boob out and was attempting to nurse her grandson. She chuckled and said, "Oh that one's not working. Let's try this one!" before switching the infant to the other breast where he suckled her nipple.

To find out how my friend handled the bizarre situation,


Dumbfounded, my friend laughed and snapped a picture with her phone. In disbelief, she asked her husband if he could believe what his mother was doing when he walked outside. He was equally stunned and speechless.

When my friends told the grandfather (husband to the nursing grandma) about his wife's actions, he shrugged it off at first. But then confronted his wife saying, "Honey, did you really try to breastfeed the Bambino?" Abashedly she replied, "I'm not going to talk about it anymore! All I will say is that it was a good bonding experience for both of us!"

There aren't enough words to describe how I would feel if this happened to me. But these emotions come to mind — shock, disgust, anger, betrayal and confusion. I would be most concerned with my son having nipple confusion — what if he had rejected the mother's breast after having been introduced to another woman's bosoms? I'd also be disturbed by my mother–in–law's decision to try to breastfeed him. Obviously she was incapable of producing milk on a first time basis, but engaging in the act itself seems odd.

Does this story leave you feeling disturbed as well?

raven3839 raven3839 7 years
I had a similar situation happen to me. When I had my oldest son he did not like fake nipples. he would not take a pacifier. My mother was watching him and he wold not be soothed by anything so she put her breast in his mouth. This soothed him. I thought nothing of it. It did not make me mad or gross me out. I now have grandchildren and my oldest son's daughter is the same way. I was holding her and she was fussy so I tried the pacifier and she would not take it so I thought I would try to sooth her the way my mother soothed her father when he was an infant. When the baby's mother came into the room she asked me what I was doing, took the baby and told my son I was gross. She then told me I had to leave. Now I don't feel I have mental problem and I didn't realize that so many people find this offensive. It seemed like the natural thing to do. I told my husband about it and he said that he found nothing wrong with what I did as did my younger son. The baby's father said that is was a mistake but he understood why I did it. I told the mother I was sorry and that It would not happen again. She said to me that my apology didn't mean anything to her and I knew it would make her mad and that is why I did it, I just wanted to sooth the child upsetting the mother was the last thing in the world I wanted to do. I know that can effect the mothers milk flow. I see that most post are to never let the child alone with that grandparent again and since she has never left me alone with any of their children that doesn't seem to bother me. I don't care much for the girlfriend because she does not tread my son well, she constantly complains about not being able to go out drinking because no one will watch her children. At first I though she was the mental on because she has such bad mood swing and has had them before she even started to have children. I see now that I was wrong even though it seemed so natural to me. For all of you who find this gross and EWW I am also sorry but I feel this needed to be said. I will not let it happen again now that I know that it was very inappropriate.
mink20 mink20 8 years
you all won't believe that the same kind of thing happened to me when my infant son was just six weeks old.I had to go for my six week check up with my OB-GYN and my MIL and FIL insisted on leaving my son with took a little longer than expected at my doc's office and when i returned my poor son was crying .she then revealed that she tried to pacify him by offering her own breast.I was shocked,angry and full of disgust but didn't utter a word.she could have tried other ways to soothe him.even when i think about it now almost 4 years later,my blood just boils thinking about it and i regret not having shown my reaction.
LuvLeoDiCaprio LuvLeoDiCaprio 8 years
yuck that's not funny nor would I take pics, I would keep my child away from that weird woman.
freedski freedski 9 years
Ho-ho-ho-ho HOLDUP...first of all, I think the vast majority of people who would morally condemn MIL, or question her sanity, for doing something as natural and reflexive as trying to breastfeed her grandchild should, themselves, question their thinking. Anyone who believes that this act is, in any way "wrong" simply because it MAY cause "nipple confusion" or psychological damage is simply being too much of an holier-than-thou AP wonk. To a baby, a nonlactating breast that does not have the smell of her primary nurser may as well be a fingertip (or god forbid, a pacifier). Place the child back on her mother's breast, and I assure you with a high degree of certainty that she will have no problem going back to nursing. Many of your shocked and outraged comments serve only to reinforce the hateful Western stereotype that older women who are no longer of childbearing age are useless and somehow dangerous.
macbump macbump 9 years
Honestly, the *least* I would be worried about is nipple confusion. While it is *possible* a child could get "confused" between 2 people, or prefer one person over the other, the mechanism of suckling on a breast remains the same. I'd rather a baby still know how to breastfeed properly rather than the type of sucking necessary (when a child has bottle nipple confusion sometimes they don't know how to suckle at a breast properly anymore). My MIL wouldn't do this but if she did, I'd be no more insulted than if she were to offer a finger to suck on. And much less insulted than if she offered a bottle without my approbation.
bankyskitch bankyskitch 9 years
Someone needs some serious education. Or just maybe to do a Google search on the term "nipple confusion." Nipple confusion is about a preference for artificial nipples over real nipples, not between two women's nipples. If nipple confusion WERE about a preference of one woman's busom over another, the human race would have died out long ago, because before formula, we kept our infants alive by wetnursing.
sodria sodria 9 years
I just cannot believe this, I'm completely speechless about this matter.
SandyFeet SandyFeet 9 years
I have read in times past when whole families (aunts, uncles, cousins, gradparents etc.)lived together and it was customary for the youngest of children to nurse from the lactatin females. Grandmothers usually in their 40's,50's and pehaps 60's were still lactating due to mishaps within the family group (death, sickness or not capable to nurse). This was the custom in Europe and as far as we know through out the world. But these were in times past. With the introduction of supermarkets, pharmacies and the like, these customs faded into history. This grandmother, being the matriarch of this family must of felt that her importance was no longer needed and perhaps "used" this excused to bond with this child. The simple fact that she does not want to address this subject goes beyond the feelings of neglect but is a much deeper issue maybe she is not getting the attention she needs from her partner. The child will never remember what transpire the ones I feel sorry for are the parents of this baby. How can they ever feel comfortable with her near their child. All the lost possibility of having a true relationship with a grandchild. This grandmother need serious help and fast.
babysugar babysugar 9 years
The family was actually visiting Italy - an American family with conservative views.
crickett4jc crickett4jc 9 years
To the people who argue that the grandma's culture might have something to do with her decision: Even her husband questioned her about the issue. I think that implies that it is NOT a cultural difference, or at least not enough of one for her to be excused in not knowing her DIL's (and son's) cultural leanings. This is Italy we're talking about, not some 3rd world country with no connection to modern society!
wasabigizmobunny wasabigizmobunny 9 years
I don't know how I would react to this but it doesn't really gross me out. I think our culture does over sexualize breasts. Did anyone every thin about what happened in olden times when there was no pacifier /binkies? I bet women, lactation or not used their breasts. Also, to the best of my knowledge, not that it necessarily applies here, women who have breastfed can relactate without giving birth again if there is enough nipples stimulation.
It's possible that the grandma holds on to some older non western views of breastfeeding. I just think it's a little extreme for so many of you to question the grandma's sanity without first understanding her background.
I am not endorsing this behaviour but it would be interesting to learn how some other cultures / generations view breastfeeding.
jadelyce jadelyce 9 years
This is beyond disturbing. Grandma clearly was trying to compete with Mom. Suckling now, it'll be something worse later because clearly Grandma sees no boundaries in this competition.
crickett4jc crickett4jc 9 years
Sorry, guys! My computer freaked out and reposted that last comment a zillion times--it was not intentional!
crickett4jc crickett4jc 9 years
I am actually angered about this as if it happened to me personally. I'm not so much completely disgusted with the idea of nursing someone's baby, as I did that once for my sister's son, who is 5 months older than my own. It was an emergency situation and he would NOT take a bottle, and she had already mentioned it on her own that it was an option if nothing else seemed to work. I did it reluctantly, and because it was my only option, other than letting him starve and scream. But I would NEVER EVER have DREAMED of doing something like that without the mother's permission. It is unfathomable. If someone who DID have milk did that to someone's baby they would actually run the risk of passing HIV to the baby--HIV can be spread easily through breastmilk, regardless of how "normal" inter-breastfeeding is in a culture! I'm just appalled that someone could be so without boundaries. What other boundaries would she choose to ignore?
kapikani kapikani 9 years
Ewww!!! Are they aware that she's probably lost her mind? I'm sorry I'm all for bonding, but if my MIL ever did that, I'd firmly tell her that if she did that again, she will never be alone in the same room with my baby. I'm just so disturbed right now, I can't enjoy my coffee with CREAM! :-)
bushra bushra 9 years
argh sorry my comment doesn't read right. i don't think this is comparable to wet nursing, this scenario itself is too freaky for my liking and i would take my child off that woman straight away. i was suggesting that the idea of a lactating mother breastfeeding another mother's child isn't such a scary scenario.
kastarte2 kastarte2 9 years
Bellafranki, Like I said, I don't even give my cousin's kid fruit snacks with out asking! lol
cleansingbreath cleansingbreath 9 years
"And cleansingbreath, I don't think what the issue here is that the breast is being sexualized..." Correct, this isn't the issue here at all. I mentioned it when bringing up the topic of breasts in our society in general. I agree with everyone who said that what the grandmother did was out of line, to say the least.
FrankiLee FrankiLee 9 years
I find this really odd...the concept of nursing someone else's baby is not what bothers me, because if I was in a dire situation and either I had to do it for a friend/family member or they had to do it for me, I would (although I would prefer to breastfeed my child myself under almost ALL circumstances), I understand there are certain circumstances where it is ok. I think it's the fact that the grandmother had not lactated in quite some time, nor did she ask permission to do this with the child. That's where it gets a little creepy. And cleansingbreath, I don't think what the issue here is that the breast is being sexualized, there is nothing wrong with breastfeeding a baby as it is perfectly natural and what breasts are there for in the first place, I am pretty sure the issue is that the grandmother had no permission and the mother was not comfortable at all with this situation, nor was it something that she had heard of before. I would be shocked if I saw my MIL doing that to my baby!!!
katedavis katedavis 9 years
This story just strikes me as really sad.
Greggie Greggie 9 years
"I was trying to say that the concept of nursing someone else's baby is not *gross* or *wrong*." The concept is not. This situation, however, can easily be. It is obviously not a culture where it's the norm, and not a situation where the people are familiar with the concept. If even the dad was shocked, it's obviously not something the grandmother was doing on a regular basis, or how she raised him. Nipple confusion can happen any time you change nipples. If you have a wet nurse or are consistently changing from breast to bottle, baby becomes accustomed. But to throw a new nipple at a baby who's only used to mom can easily cause confusion and problems. If mom's trying to introduce the bottle or a wet nurse, it's worth the time to work through the confusion. If it's grandma randomly throwing her nipple into baby's mouth, not so much.
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